Earlier this month we counted down the top five blog posts of the year. This week, we’re doing the same with our resource library.

From case studies and webinars to tip sheets and reports, the Kazoo resource library is constantly updated with new content that helps HR leaders launch and optimize great performance management and recognition programs.

Here’s a look at the top five most-downloaded HR resources from 2018.

5. Four Factors to Drive High-Impact Performance Management [webinar]

It doesn’t get any better than Bersin by Deloitte when it comes to cutting edge research. On this webinar two Bersin experts unveil the first-of-its-kind performance management maturity model, and the practices that lead to big results.

4. State of Meaningful Work [study]

To understand how performance management initiatives contribute to more meaningful work experiences for employees, look no further the 2018 Kazoo Meaningful Work Study. This report is full of stats that help HR leaders demonstrate the value of engaged employees, and how that translates to the bottom line.

3. Jumpstart Your Performance Management Program [webinar]

In this webinar, we deliver tips straight from the source – HR leaders from Amy’s Kitchen and Spanx. They cover everything from how designed their programs and secured executive buy in to their change management secrets for getting it off the ground.

2. A Culture of Recognition Takes off at United Airlines [webinar]

With a geographically dispersed employee base, United Airlines struggled to unify its thousands of employees and create a common culture. In this webinar, United’s Marlon Crawford shares how the launch of a social and mobile recognition program, using Kazoo, helped the company achieve this, and more.

1. 2019 Buyer Questions: Performance Management Technology [guide]

Choosing a performance management technology provider is no easy feat. To help HR leaders make sense of it all, we published a guide to evaluating vendors across three areas: company, technology and performance management capabilities. The guide also includes sample questions to ask prospective vendors in each of these important areas.

Professionals in the HR space can find more than their fair share of helpful advice from the characters of HBO’s WestWorld. It is, after all, a story about self actualization, interpersonal relationships, and questionable leadership.

And for those wondering if we’re dehumanizing the modern workforce by drawing comparisons to a rebellious group of programmed machines, well, maybe — but stay with us.

The following quotes from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s AI masterpiece offer actionable insights into dealing with less-than-stellar employees, recruiting woes, and toxic management. So without further ado, scroll on, giddyup, and begin your loop:

1. The power of self-awareness


Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Did you ever stop to wonder about your actions? — Dolores Abernathy

From interns to executive leadership, HR professionals are often tasked with facilitating hard conversations between employees at all different stages of their career. And when conflicts arise, one workplace truth will always come in handy: self-awareness.

By asking team members to take an unbiased, 360-degree view of their situation, you’ll invite them to critically assess how their own actions may be affecting others. And considering that only 10-15% of workplace employees are actually self-aware, this is a good exercise to go through with almost anyone in your company.

Peer and self assessments like performance reviews and personality tests offer employees the tools to understand themselves, and in turn, better understand their coworkers and everyday interactions. Ultimately, these initiatives should encourage team members to consider all of the moving parts that impact business decisions and relationships, helping to remove ego from conflict and put company goals back at the forefront of the conversation.

2. The secret to attracting top talent


They’re not looking for a story that tells them who they are. They already know who they are. They’re here because they want a glimpse of who they could be.  — Dr. Robert Ford

Here’s a hard truth for recruiters and HR teams trying to grow their company headcount: there are now more job openings than there are workers to fill them. Where once high salaries, office snacks, and unlimited vacation could easily sway a desirable candidate, businesses now have to identify their personal X factor to attract top talent.

The good news? You don’t have to pour more money into recruiting efforts to stand out in the crowd. One of the biggest factors in millennials’ choice to take or leave a job is connection to purpose. If HR teams can position their companies as places where employee growth and engagement are tied to real-world business results, you’re more likely to snag talent that will buy into the vision of your business and drive meaningful results.

The bad news? If you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. Companies that boast employee development opportunities but fail to deliver concrete growth plans will leave your team plagued by high turnover and low morale.

3. How to prevent toxic cultures


When you find a cancer in an organization, you must cut it out before it can spread. — Dr. Robert Ford

We all know the signs of a toxic employee: gossip, lack of accountability, the list goes on. And though signs of toxic behavior may be easy to identify, few companies have concrete action plans for team members that engage in such insidious conduct, especially when the employee in question is well liked or a statistically high performer.

While these situations are often difficult to address, the truth remains that toxic behavior rarely fixes itself. Instituting an internal zero-tolerance policy will allow your HR department to immediately put poisonous team members on a performance improvement plan or help see them out the door before they influence the rest of your team.

Worried about being too extreme? According to Harvard research, “toxic employees destroy your culture and your bottom line”  – so don’t be afraid to take actions that protect your workplace environment and the goals of the business.

4. The ripple effect of poor leadership


The rest will follow wherever you make him go.
— Dolores Abernathy

Think of your managers and leadership team as the trendsetters of your office. The behaviors, attitudes, and work habits they exhibit will set the pace and tone for your office. Does your CEO have monthly meltdowns? Does your engineering lead take two-hour lunches? Regardless of the behavior, your employees will take note and follow suit.

So, if you notice your office culture taking a nosedive toward resentment and laziness, consider addressing it from the top-down. As HR, it’s our job to communicate with company leaders about the power of optics and leading by example.

If employees are to truly buy into your company’s mission, vision, and values, they must identify with the people who run it. That means managers and leads showing up for work, responding to conflict and high-stress situations with poise, and respecting each employee as if they were on the executive team alongside them.

These violent delights have violent ends…

Did we cover your favorite quotes? For ones we missed, make sure to share your best HR-Westworld crossover moments on social media and tag us at @youearnedit!

About Kazoo

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

This week’s TLNT article, 3 Forces That Are Shaping the Future of Work, painted a clear picture of just how much the state of work has changed. The authors point to a new future shaped by the gig economy and technological advances and, in this except, the implications of each:

“The result of these trends is an even tighter labor market with new demands for developing and retaining top talent. The companies that embrace and proactively respond to this emerging reality will have the competitive advantage as they execute on strategies that will enable them to win the talent war, enhance employee productivity and elevate brand equity.”

The article goes on to share what it will take to stay competitive in the war for talent in 2019 – an HR strategy centered on meaningful work, development opportunities and a collaborative environment. We wholeheartedly agree. In this post, we want to offer our take on how a modern performance management approach can address all three of these must-have’s for today’s employee.

How modern performance management addresses three must-have’s for today’s employee:

1.) Creating meaningful work

To understand how performance management initiatives contribute to more meaningful work experiences for employees, look no further the Kazoo Meaningful Work Study 2018.

Almost all employees (95%) who find their work to be “very meaningful” know their organizations’ missions and values. Goal setting is an important way to reinforce this. Empowering employees to set goals that align to broader company objectives creates a stronger bond between them and their employer. That bond, of course, leads to a more meaningful work experience.

Just over half of employees say that they are trusting of their managers. While this number isn’t terrible, the flipside is that almost half of employees don’t trust their boss. Employee-driven check-ins and requests for feedback are one way to build trust through the employee-manager relationship. Empowering employees to seek out feedback often and initiate interactions with their manager leads to trust, which then leads to finding more meaning in their work. Download our webinar recording for even more ways that an agile performance management strategy can help create meaningful work experiences.

2.) Doubling down on development

Development doesn’t happen in a silo. It all starts with an employee who makes development a priority, and sets goals that allow them to grow into their next role. To accomplish those goals, they need peers willing to provide honest, constructive feedback along the way, and a manager who’s willing to coach them on how to improve.

An agile performance management approach should facilitate this process fairly intuitively for everyone involved. Set-it-and-forget-it goals do more harm than good. Transparent goals create a sense of accountability for employees and a starting point to talk about career growth and a plan for advancement.

3.) Fostering a collaborative culture

A lot has been said about the important of office design in creating a way for employees to interact and collaborate more freely. But today, with many businesses utilizing remote employees or having multiples offices across geographies, it takes more than switching out cubicles for open tables.

That’s where your performance management process can help. By taking goals, feedback and recognition online and making them real time, transparent and social, employees can connect and collaborate in meaningful ways. A culture that encourages peers to offer feedback and congratulate each other on their accomplishments promotes positive collaboration across the organization.

Looking for inspiration on how to make the Kazoo platform a holiday hit? Whether you’re interested in holiday rewards for employees or simply want to encourage giving, we’ve put together a list of our favorite ideas for employees, teams, and managers as we head into 2019.

How we do things at Kazoo

Maybe your organization already has an existing charity you work with this time of year, or perhaps you’re looking for the perfect one to partner with for the first time.

Using our Survey tool, you can set-up a custom question polling employees on what charity they’re hoping your company donates to this December.

Here at Kazoo, we’re able to earn points through Behavior Bonuses when we donate any item during the month of December.

Furthermore, our team works with Toys for Tots by donating toys and contributing points directly from the platform. Once points are submitted, our admin takes the dollar value from the points collected and purchases toys to be donated.

Growing Your Rewards Catalog

Speaking of charities, this might be a good time to add more giving options within your rewards catalog. Kazoo has some great choices directly within our store, or you can simply incentivize your employees to donate points with a Give Back Bonus.

Need help expanding your catalog? Access you options but going to Admin > Catalogs > Rewards Catalogs. Select “Add From Store”, Filter by Reward Type, and choose Charity.

If you don’t see a Charity from our store you’re hoping to add, have no fear! This is where Custom Experiences are your friend. Add in a Point Pooled reward that allows your employees to donate one of two ways: By a goal amount or by a certain date.

Some of our favorite charity ideas are:

  • Contribute to the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • Sponsor a family in need
  • Donate to a local Food Bank

New Year Ideas and Inspiration

With 2019 fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about January initiatives.

Whether you want to encourage your employees to adopt healthy behaviors or maintain their New Year Resolutions, there are things you can easily incorporate into Kazoo through behavior bonuses and themed rewards.

New Year’s Reward Ideas

  • Physical wellness: Fitbit, Apple Watch, exercise classes, gym membership
  • Personal growth: Learning and Development classes, journals, bookstore gift card

New Year’s Behavior Bonus Ideas

  • Physical and mental wellness: 30 minute workout, meditation, joining a company sports team
  • Personal growth: Keeping your New Year’s resolution, taking financial literacy classes, learning a new skill, reading a book
  • Giving back: volunteering over the weekend, donating to charity, mentoring a child

The world of HR moves fast. While workforce trends come and go, it doesn’t change the fact that today’s highly competitive business environment means that employee performance is more important than ever. HR leaders must do everything in their power to create environments where employees can thrive and perform at high levels.

That’s where Kazoo comes in. Through our blog, we strive to make sense of industry news and trends, tackle the biggest challenges faced by our customers and offer best practices to keep your performance management program fresh.

We ran the numbers, and today we’re sharing our five most-read posts of 2018, ranging from very strategic, high level topics to more straightforward how-to’s.

5.  Performance Management System False Positives: 3 Ways Your Data Could Be Lying

In a dynamic business environment, it can be easy to track the wrong metrics for your specific program objectives – or interpret the results the wrong way. In this post we take a look at three common goals of a performance management system, and how the numbers you use to measure success against those goals might actually be lying to you.

 4. Four Ways to Manage Your Employee Experience Like Customers

When it comes to customers, happy = loyal. HR leaders are betting that employees feel the same way. This post shares how to translate four customer experience tactics into strategies that will increase employee happiness – and retention.

 3. Change Management Must-Haves: 15 Ways to Start Your New HR Program on the Right Foot

The implementation process of a new performance management program is just as important as the new system or tool itself. In this post we zero in on the three most critical components to change management – communication, marketing and training – and 15 ways our customers have knocked it out of the park.

2.  Real-Time Feedback Works – And 9 Stats to Prove It

In this post we tackle the way real-time feedback helps organizations address three big trends disrupting performance management. Nine stats help prove that feedback can be a master multi-tasker in helping HR leaders address multiple trends at once.

1.  Five Ways Your Company’s Core Values Impact Employee Success

The common denominator of successful performance management programs is a close connection to the business’s core values. This blog post shares five core value statements, and dives into how they influence key performance management components.

Each organization designs a performance management process that is uniquely suited to their employees. From goal setting and feedback to performance conversations and annual reviews, no two processes look exactly the same from one company to the next.

Yet, there is a common denominator for organizations with high-performing teams – technology.

HR technology is one of the most innovative categories of tech today. There’s a growing emphasis on the employee experience, as more and more companies battle job hoppers and a lack of available talent to take their places.

Performance management software enables a best-in-class employee experience. It creates transparency around both individual and company goals, tracks critical feedback conversations and compiles employee data to drive better downstream decisions around compensation and more. The result? Better retention and engagement, and as a result, a strong employer brand that attracts top talent.

There are five distinct advantages to a technology-enabled performance management strategy that cannot be replicated with a manual process.

1. Access to real-time information.

In the fast-moving world of employee management, time makes all the difference. Whether it’s addressing negative feedback before it affects customers or recognizing employees who achieve a big goal, access to real-time data helps managers react quickly to employee performance.

2. Easily identifiable performance trends and anomalies.

For HR leaders, a data-driven process allows them to shine a spotlight on the areas of performance they need to see most. Giving them back the time previously spent on tracking down trends or anomalies means they’re better able to address issues or adjust processes.

3. Development of more complete performance profiles.

Technology keeps everyone aligned and on the same page when it comes to performance. Manual processes leave too much to chance, interpretation or subjectivity. Seeing goal progress and achievement, all peer and manager feedback and review data in one place with the click of a button equals 100% transparency around performance. (And, consequently, why an employee is or isn’t getting that bonus, raise or promotion.)

4. An accurate measurement of usage.

Is your performance management process working? If no one is using it, the answer is no. With a manual process, it’s impossible to track which individuals and teams are setting and tracking goals, giving or receiving feedback or having performance conversations. Technology can give HR leaders a snapshot of usage, allowing them to determine which processes need to be tweaked or when a training or refresher course might be necessary.

5. Audit trail access.

Keeping digital performance records leaves nothing to chance if an employee feels unfairly assessed or wrongfully terminated and chooses to take legal action. Having this information at the ready can save HR and business owners from a giant, expensive headache down the road.